In partnership with The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County and the Boulder County Farmers’ Markets, nonprofit Local Food Shift Group has established a Farm Relief Fund to assist farmers, ranchers and local food entrepreneurs in Boulder and Larimer counties and along the Front Range who have experienced losses due to the recent floods.
The unprecedented flooding in Colorado has had profound effects on the agricultural community. In many places, the landscape has been altered; creeks and rivers have changed course, irrigation ditches no longer connect to their sources, fields have been flooded with contaminated waters, and topsoil has been washed away. Farmers’ markets and farmstands have had to close at the height of the harvest season, causing significant revenue loss for small-scale operations.
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For most producers, no insurance covers these losses. Many are now struggling to recover, rebuild and reseed. For some, the need is urgent. Farmers and ranchers are not only facing immediate revenue loss from contaminated crops or market closures, but may also be looking at significant repair of water infrastructure and uncertainty about the impact on next year’s growing season.
“While millions of dollars in flood relief is pouring into the area, almost none is targeted to local food producers,” says Lynette Marie Hanthorn, Executive Director of Local Food Shift Group. “This farm relief fund will channel tax-deductible contributions into emergency grants and low-interest loans.”
An advisory group comprised of farmers, food producers, and social impact investors is guiding the fund and reviewing applications, and allocations are being managed by the non-profit organization.
“We can help prepare our land and our families for possibly even more severe events in the future,” says Hanthorn. “Building on this Farm Relief Fund, we’ll work with other organizations to establish a long-term fund dedicated to providing financial support to our local producers in times of need.”
Details are available at localfoodshift.com. Contributions can be made online at www.commfound.org/floodrelief: please choose the Front Range Farm Relief Fund when making your contribution. Checks can also be written to Local Food Shift Group, 2415 19th Street, Boulder CO 80304.
Farmers in need are encouraged to apply for assistance. Please call 303-494-1521 or email info@LocalFoodShift.com for details on how to apply.